The rules for flying in the time of COVID-19 are constantly changing, from what airlines require of passengers to what to expect when you land at your destination. Here is how some of the world's top airlines are handling air travel regulations.

Qantas

As part of the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble, passengers travelling to Australia are required to present a declaration form upon check in. If travelling to New Zealand, passengers must register for a managed isolation voucher and undertake 14 days of hotel quarantine. Travel will not be allowed without a voucher. Domestically, requirements may include mandatory health declarations and/or entry permits, and wearing face masks.

Jetstar

Domestic travel within Australia is subject to the requirements of each state and territory. Travellers may be required to complete border declaration forms, undergo temperature checks, and wear masks once arriving at their final destination.

Domestic travel within Australia is subject to the requirements of each state and territory. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw
Domestic travel within Australia is subject to the requirements of each state and territory. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

Virgin Australia

All travellers entering Australia are required to be citizens or permanent residents, and must undertake 14 days of hotel quarantine. Domestically, requirements may include mandatory health declarations and/or entry permits, and wearing face masks.

Air New Zealand

All international travellers flying to New Zealand, through New Zealand to the US and UK, or to Canada, Korea or Australia using Air New Zealand are required to return a pre-travel negative COVID-19 test. If New Zealand is your final destination, travellers are required to undertake government-mandated hotel quarantine and complete border declaration forms. Some travellers flying to Australia are exempt from hotel quarantine if pre-approved.

If travelling to China, passengers are required to return a pre-travel negative COVID-19 test, prior to arrival, and present a green QR health code or signed declaration form upon arrival. Hong Kong borders remain closed.

Aegean Airlines

Passengers are requested to wear face masks or any type of mouth-nose cover inside all airport areas.

Boarding is performed per window, middle and aisle seat, starting with the window seats.

Contactless boarding allows passengers to self-scan boarding passes and present identification documents to staff.

Transfer shuttles are operating at 50 per cent capacity with no more than 40 passengers per route.

Aer Lingus

All passengers must wear a face mask or covering to fly.

Temperature checks may be in operation at some airports depending on various local state regulations. Guests who fail a thermal screening or are identified as symptomatic will be refused travel.

Aeroflot Russian Airlines

Passengers must wear masks and gloves when boarding and leaving the aircraft and adhere to social distancing requirements.

Temperature checks are taken before boarding. Passengers with a high temperature (more than 37°C) are not allowed on board.

 

Domestic travel within Australia is opening up again. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Domestic travel within Australia is opening up again. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

Aerolineas Argentinas

It is compulsory to wear a surgical mask or a face mask (covering your nose, mouth and chin) at all times.

Passengers must carry spare surgical masks or face masks since they should be replaced if wet or visibly dirty.

Aeromexico

It is compulsory to wear a surgical mask or a face mask and passengers should travel with spare masks. Passengers are encouraged to check-in online where available.

Temperature checks and social distancing are mandatory for all travellers.

Air Canada

All passengers over the age of 2 must wear a surgical or approved mask. All passengers who are not compliant with the face covering requirements may be denied boarding and will be reported to the relevant authority, which could result in a financial penalty.

Infra-red temperature checks will be taken at the airport, either by Air Canada employees or a third party.

Customers must have a maximum temperature of 38 degrees Celsius to be permitted on board, except for flights to/from China where the maximum temperature is 37.3 degrees Celsius.

Air China

In accordance with the risk level of the departure city or flight, cabin crew may wear masks and PPE.

For high-risk flights with a flight duration of more than four hours, staff will use non-contact body temperature devices to measure the body temperature of passengers in the cabin.

Air France

A negative Covid test may be required depending on your destination.

Surgical masks are required to wear for the duration of the trip, and while in the airport. Temperature checks may be implemented at the departure of some flights.

 

 

Air India

It is compulsory to wear a surgical mask or a face mask (covering your nose, mouth and chin) at all times.

Physical distancing is required, and temperature checks may be carried out as necessary during check-in.

Alaska Airlines

Masks are mandatory, exceptions apply only to children under the age of 2 (in alignment with CDC age guidelines).

As part of your flight check-in process, you will be asked to complete a health agreement which confirms you have not exhibited COVID-19 symptoms in the past 72 hours.

Guests now board by row numbers in smaller groups from the back to the front.

Alitalia

It is compulsory to wear a surgical mask or a face mask (covering your nose, mouth and chin) at all times. Passengers must carry spare surgical masks or face masks since they should be replaced if wet or visibly dirty.

Passengers should, where possible, carry out the web check-in or to use, where present, the fast check-in kiosks at the airport.

From 15 June, it is mandatory to complete the self-certification form, before boarding, which certifies that you have not had contact with people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Self-certification is digital and can be completed during your online check-in.

American Airlines

American Airlines requires all employees and travellers over the age of 2 to wear a face mask while flying and in the airport.

When you check-in you'll be asked to confirm you've been free of COVID-19 symptoms for the past 14 days.

You must complete a test that complies with destination requirements.

 

British Airways

Passengers are required to wear face mask at all times and change masks every four hours.

Online and self-check-in is encouraged.

Passenger will be offered a personal protection pack containing an antibacterial wipe and hand sanitiser gel when on-board.

Cathay Pacific

Travellers are required to complete a health declaration upon check-in.

Face coverings and temperature checks for all passengers, crew and staff are also mandatory.

Delta Airlines

Passengers should be prepared to show travel requirement documentation at check-in, prior to boarding, and upon arrival. Documentation includes but is not limited to country specific pre-departure travel documents, COVID test results, and health insurance.

All travellers ages 2 and above travelling to or connecting through the United States to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days before departure and sign an attestation confirming a negative result.

Customers without their negative COVID-19 test results and signed attestation will be denied boarding in accordance with the CDC order. Antibody tests are not accepted.

Customers who have recovered from COVID-19 can travel with a positive test (taken within the past 90 days before travel) and a letter from a licensed health provider or public health official stating that the customer has been cleared for travel.

Emirates

You must wear a mask throughout Dubai International airport, during boarding, throughout your flight, and as you leave the aircraft.

There are exceptions for children under 6 years old and customers who have certain medical conditions.

All passengers get a complimentary travel hygiene kit containing gloves, a face mask, antibacterial wipes and a hand sanitiser and temperature checks may be required once inside the airport.

Boarding the aircraft is in smaller groups from the last row to the first, and boarding gate areas are deep cleaned once everyone is on the flight.

 

Etihad

You must wear a face mask while you travel and wash your hands at regular intervals.

The airline recommends that children aged two to five wear a mask as much as they possibly can. Children aged six or older must wear a mask at all times, wash their hands regularly and follow social distancing guidelines as much as possible.

Only travellers will be allowed to enter the airport. If you need special assistance may be accompanied by someone.

You must have a COVID-19 PCR test before you fly with Etihad Airways, issued by any government accredited medical facility a maximum of 96 hours before your flight departure time.

Hawaiian Airlines

Face masks are required throughout your travel journey, except when eating. Children under the age of two will be exempt from the policy.

Passengers are recommended to reduce their volume of carried hand luggage at this time.

Depending on the state or county, your temperature may be checked at the airport upon departure or arrival and those with a fever will be required to self-quarantine on the island they've arrived. At check-in, you will also need to confirm a self-health attestation.

Hong Kong Airlines

All passengers travelling on Hong Kong Airlines flights will be required to wear a face covering or mask throughout the check-in process, at the departure gate, while boarding, and at all times when on board, except when eating or drinking or requested by our crew in an emergency situation.

Passengers who are unable to wear a face covering for an extended period of time due to medical reasons may still be accepted for boarding but should declare this to our check-in agent. Questions on medical and travel history will be asked and your response will be noted in your booking record.

If your flight is to Mainland China or any destinations classified as high-risk places, you are required to undergo temperature check at the boarding gate. If you have fever or display symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be permitted to board.

Boarding will be conducted by rows to avoid overcrowding. Where airport facilities are available, you will be asked to scan your own boarding pass under the assistance of our ground staff.

 

Iberia

The use of face masks is compulsory throughout the flight. Single-use masks must be changed every four hours.

Drinks will be served with each meal and will be limited to one. The buy-on-board service is currently unavailable, as are special meals on some of our routes. Newspapers and magazines have also been removed from seats.

Depending on the airport, when you reach the terminal you will either have to hand in a form or show it on your phone. You may also have your temperature taken with a thermal camera or non-contact thermometer.

If you are entering Spain from abroad, you must present the Health control form showing either the QR code you downloaded when you filled in the form online OR the printed form you filled in on the plane or at the departure airport.

Japan Airlines

All customers on JAL international flights are eligible for COVID-19 Cover which provides complimentary support in case of COVID-19 infection.

Face masks are required at all times except for when eating or drinking. Small children including infants are excluded from wearing masks. Customers with difficulty wearing a mask should contact an airline agent at the airport prior to travelling.

JAL may not allow customers to board the flight if they are found to be not observing the airline's instruction.

JetBlue

Check the requirements of your intended destination before travel to determine whether this type of test is accepted and other details.

CDC guidelines require all air travellers (2 years and older) entering the U.S. to present either proof of recovery from COVID-19 or a negative PCR or antigen viral test taken no more than 3 calendar days before departure.

JetBlue also requires a printed and signed form confirming the information presented is true.

Federal law requires masks to be worn by all travellers 2 years and older at all times throughout the flight including during boarding and deplaning, and in the airport. Any individual who fails to comply with this law may be subject to denied boarding, removal from the aircraft and/or penalties under federal law. Plastic face shields may be worn in addition to a mask but not in place of one.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

At Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, passengers aged 13 and up are required to wear a mask everywhere.

You can temporarily remove your mask while eating or drinking. Make sure to follow the instructions on how to remove and put on your mask. Store your mask in a clean space (e.g. in the original packaging or in a clean plastic bag). You're not allowed to slide your mask under your chin or put it on your head.

Shuttle buses are operating with no more than 40 passengers.

A Qantas plane pictured taking off at Sydney Airport. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw
A Qantas plane pictured taking off at Sydney Airport. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

Korean Air

All Korean Air customers and employees are required to wear a face mask at the airport.

Spare seats are placed between travellers to ensure customers can enjoy a safer travel experience with social distancing.

Thermal imaging cameras and non-contact thermometers are used while boarding.

Lufthansa

Travellers are currently only allowed to carry one piece of hand luggage and travellers are required to use automatic boarding gates.

Norwegian Air International

The authorities require you to accept a Health declaration to confirm that you have no symptoms, have not been diagnosed with COVID-19, have not been in direct contact with anyone who has the disease, and are not under mandatory quarantine.

The use of face masks is compulsory throughout the flight.

Ryanair

Temperature checks may be required at the airport.

Passengers must complete the necessary forms before travel.

Face masks/coverings are mandatory in the airport and on board your flight.

SAS

A face mask covering mouth and nose is required during the entire flight, from boarding to disembarkation. This applies to all of our flights. SAS requires you to bring your own face mask. Children younger than 6 years are exempted from this rule.

 

 

Singapore Airlines

If you are carrying hand sanitisers or alcohol-based disinfectants in your checked baggage, make sure that the weight does not exceed 0.5 litres or 0.5kg per article and 2.0 litres or 2.0kg in total. For cabin baggage, the usual 100ml limit for liquids will apply.

If a health declaration is listed in the travel advisories for your itinerary, remember to complete it within the necessary time frame. For instance, if you are entering Singapore, you must submit this within three days before your flight.

TAP Portugal

Use of a face mask is mandatory on board all TAP flights for all passengers over the age of 6.

All TAP passengers (including Portuguese citizens and residents of Portugal) on flights from countries that are not part of the European Union, or that are not countries associated with the Schengen Area or from the United Kingdom or Canada, must present proof of RT-PCR testing for COVID-19, with a negative result, performed within 72 hours prior to the time of departure, or they will be denied boarding.

THAI

Passengers will also be screened at service areas and those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will be reported to airport physicians on duty who will perform a health inspection to confirm if the passenger is fit to fly.

During the flight, passengers are to be observed for possible symptoms and advise the international infectious disease control unit prior to arrival if passengers exhibit related symptoms.

Passengers are prohibited from touching in-flight catering equipment.

 

Travel is back on, but with different rules. Picture: supplied
Travel is back on, but with different rules. Picture: supplied

United

Before travel, passengers must complete the following checklist:

- You have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 21 days.

- You have assessed yourself for COVID-19-related symptoms, and have experienced no symptoms in the last 14 days.

- You have not been denied boarding by another airline due to COVID-19 exposure in the last 14 days.

- You have not had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days or you're a medical professional following CDC guidance and using proper PPE.

- You are not currently awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test.

Travellers must wear a face covering that fully covers both nose and mouth in the airport and during the entire flight, unless eating or drinking. Travellers who aren't wearing face covering may be refused transport and could lose their travel privileges on future United flights.

Children younger than 2 years old are exempt.

Virgin Atlantic

Masks are mandatory for passengers and crew, at the airport, when boarding, and during flight.

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, no travel is permitted unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.

If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure.

If you do not comply and you do not have a valid exemption, VA may refuse boarding.

You must self-isolate when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption.

When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the new requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests.

Originally published as New COVID airline rules: How they affect you


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